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GP Week : 01-Sep-2009
d Prix, Spa-Francorchamps A real breakthrough weekend for Force India in which the team not only scored its rst points, but took its rst pole position and its rst podium. Both Fisichella and Sutil looked mega all weekend, with the upgrade package brought in for Valencia gaining the addition of new front and rear wings for the medium downforce configuration at Spa. Fisichella's pole position was a genuine surprise, and Sutil's disappointment at not making Q3 showed just how positive the team was about its chances in the race. Ultimately, Kimi Raikkonen's KERS stole the win from Fisichella, who raced his socks off. The Force India simply looked great around Spa, and Sutil would surely have picked up points too had he not taken on damage on the opening lap. As the rumour mill continued to circle around Nico Rosberg's potential movements in 2010, Williams stated it needed to make Rosberg want to stay. The big rumour doing the rounds is that a change in engine supplier could be the team's best route to success, with Renault thought the most likely option. For now, however, Rosberg and Nakajima struggled throughout practice and never looked like realistically challenging at the front. Nakajima was out in Q1, but Rosberg put in an awesome performance to take 10th on the grid. From there he raced to a point in eighth, far above expectations. Nakajima, on the other hand, finished second from last after a drive which, at times, seemed to lack the strength of character that usually sets out Kazuki's racecraft. On a weekend that BrawnGP failed to shine, Red Bull should have been able to capitalise. It was not to be, and the team will see Belgium as a missed opportunity to make serious inroads into the championship battle. The duo of Vettel and Webber lined up eighth and ninth on the grid, and the two had very different races. Webber's race was going well until his first stop, when he was released into the path of Nick Heidfeld and was handed a drive- through penalty. From there his chances were shot. Vettel, however, rose majestically through the field, putting in a solid and gutsy drive, setting qualifying-style laps time after time to beat Kubica out from the second round of stops and take a well-deserved podium. It was a very quiet weekend for Toro Rosso all in all. So much so, you could have been forgiven for thinking the team hadn't actually turned up at all in Belgium. Alguersuari made good progress, and having qualified 19th in Valencia, improved to 17th in Belgium, stating that at this rate he'll be on pole soon! With Buemi just one spot ahead of him, it was a great effort from the still green youngster. In the race, the Spaniard was embroiled in the big shunt at Les Combes and his race was over before the end of the first lap. As for Buemi, he had an exciting race and eventually finished 12th after some great battles, particularly with Kovalainen. The team now looks to Monza, scene of its incredible win in 2008, and hopes for a turnaround in fortune in low-downforce trim. At Spa the tyre warming gremlins which had a ected Brawn at earlier rounds came back to haunt them as Button and Barrichello found themselves in unfamiliar territory in practice, propping up the bottom half of the eld. Qualifying saw championship leader Button in 14th as questions started to fly as to whether he was starting to choke. With Barrichello in fourth, at least one Brawn driver looked to have things going their way, but when he bogged down at the start of the race, it all started to go wrong. Button was taken out by Grosjean at the Les Combes first lap shunt, while Barrichello went on to salvage two points in seventh. On a day when Red Bull could, and probably should, have capitalised more, Brawn will consider themselves lucky not to have lost more ground. F1 BELGIUM >> 31